Something to Declare: Monaco in style, Madeira, Cross-country Norway
Saturday 29 October 2011
Bargain of the week
Monaco in style
The start of November marks the beginning of travel's very lowest season – when holidays you might otherwise consider beyond your means could become affordable. Kirker Holidays (020-7593 2288; kirkerholidays.com), for example, is selling a three-night package to Monaco for £419 per person, based on two sharing, which includes accommodation at the sophisticated Hotel Columbus, with breakfast and BA flights from Heathrow to Nice. From here, the millionaires' twist is taking an eight-minute helicopter transfer to Monaco. And, as a bonus the company will throw in the "Passport to Monte Carlo" offering free admission to a range of museums and attractions in the Principality. The price applies right through to 28 March 2012, excluding New Year and subject to availability.
Warning of the week
The Portuguese Atlantic island is an ideal winter escape, and walking the levadas – ancient irrigation channels – is understandably popular. But the Foreign Office is sufficiently concerned about the risks that it has put out special advice for participants: "You should be prepared for narrow, uneven paths and have a head for heights. Wear suitable clothing and walking boots. Leave details of where you are going with your hotel reception and take your mobile telephone with you. Better still, join a group of walkers and go with a guide. Take extra care if it has rained as the ground may be slippery and unstable."
Destination of the week
What Norway may lack in altitude, it makes up for in latitude – the winter-sports season extends as late as early May, when you can ski late into the evening. And by way of compensation for limited vertical drops, the nation has some of Europe's best cross-country skiing.
Equipment hire is much cheaper than for Alpine skiing – through Ski Norway (020-7917 6044; ski-norway.co.uk), full equipment for a week costs £62. For holidays, says the firm's founder, Ben Nyberg, "Prices have not increased to the same extent as resorts within the euro zone, and in some cases Norwegian resorts are much cheaper".
Trysil, home town of Olympic cross-country skier Anita Moen, has 55 miles of Nordic ski trails. She taught Simon Calder the basics of langlauf: watch the results in the latest travel film at: independent.co.uk/langlauf.
Tip of the week
How to make capital connections in Spain
The new November edition of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable announces a sensible rail connection between Madrid's Barajas airport and the centre of the Spanish capital: line C-1, part of the Cercanias suburban network, runs to Atocha station from Barajas Terminal 4 (used by BA and Iberia). Besides greatly improving access to the city, it will also ease connections to the Ave high-speed rail network.
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